Nick Baird (pictured), Chief Executive of United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI), has told Libya Herald that Libya is a priority target market for UK export growth:
"It has huge potential, resources and entrepreneurial people. The 42 years of bad government under the previous regime have not fulfilled Libya’s development needs.
"It has relied too much on the exports of oil, rather than using oil money to build its infrastructure etc. This is where the UK is strong."
There are around 3,000 Libyan doctors working in the NHS in the UK, and about 50% of overseas Libyan students are sent to the UK. And there is a large number of dual nationality Libyans.
He described the Libyan market is challenging because currently there is no political stability as Libya is in a stage of transition, but added that business is being done in Libya by British companies, such as NATS in the aviation sector training and improving air traffic control.
There are also British companies in the health sector, and De La Rue is printing Libya’s bank notes. In the infrastructure sector the UK is cooperating with the Libyan Ministry of Transport and supporting Libya in its bid for the African games using the UK’s recent London Olympics experience.
Baird was guest of honour at the official opening of the first branch of leading UK department store Debenhams in the Siyahiya end of Gergarish road, Tripoli.
He said he felt that it was very important that the UK government and business understands opportunities in Libya and does not get “scared off”.
"The more they understand the more companies will come to Libya. We see this as a two-way process ... I want to go back to the UK and say that business is being done in all sectors in Libya – don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers."
(Source: Libya Herald)